What are Phone Companies Doing to Stop Texting and Driving?

Driving distractions are becoming an epidemic in this country, and they are responsible for an increasing number of serious car accidents each year. As car accident lawyers, we appreciate that major phone carriers are taking the lead in speaking out against texting and driving.

Recently, the New York Times reported efforts by A&T to curb text messaging while driving. Although this provider has invested heavily on its messaging service, it joined forces with the Federal Communications Commission and called upon the public to take a pledge not to text and drive. The phone company will soon offer a free, revised version of its cell phones that automatically disable texting in vehicles that are traveling more than 25 MPH. Similarly, Verizon Wireless, is supporting government legislation to ban texting by drivers.

Social awareness campaigns on issues like drunken driving have typically succeeded only when they are accompanied by strict laws. In Illinois, drivers are banned from texting while driving unless they are texting is to report an emergency situation. Illinois’ anti-texting law states that “a person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.” Some cities such as Evanston are even going a step further and considering a complete ban on cell phone use by drivers.

However, many other states still have not yet implemented distracted driving laws. Earlier this year, DOT released a “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” that offers a comprehensive strategy aimed at resolving the growing and dangerous practice of using handheld cell phones behind the wheel. The plan encourages all states to enact distracted driving laws and challenges auto manufacturers to come out with technology that reduces distracted driving.

What are the Different Types of Distracted Driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) points out three main types of driving distractions:

  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off driving

All of this happens when a person is texting while at the wheel, leading to preventable accidents.

Distracted Driving Statistics

  • In 2010, nearly 4,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents, and 416,000 more were injured.
  • Drivers under the age of 25 are much more likely to text while driving and be involved in a dangerous accident.
  • According to a national survey, at least four out of every ten drivers in the U.S. had been hit or nearly hit by another driver who was talking on a cell phone at the time.
  • About 25 percent of Americans who download mobile apps admit to using these apps while driving for internet browsing or mail messaging.
  • In a 2010 chain-reaction accident near Gray Summit, Missouri, the responsible driver received five texts and sent six texts in just 11 minutes right before the accident! The crash killed the driver and injured nearly 40 other people traveling on a school bus.

If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, get in touch with our Chicago car accident lawyers right away. We can pursue maximum compensation for you.

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